Gov. DeWine asks FEMA for more tornado relief for local counties

Published: Wednesday, July 03, 2019 @ 4:13 PM
Updated: Wednesday, July 03, 2019 @ 5:20 PM

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had received 2,758 registrations for tornado damage assistance as of Thursday morning from a 10-county disaster area.

Gov. Mike DeWine has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to open its Public Assistance program to counties impacted by the Memorial Day tornadoes.

Local governments “have spent millions responding to the Memorial Day storms and have suffered millions more in damages,” said DeWine. “This request, if granted by FEMA, will help them recoup some of those expenses.”

COMPLETE COVERAGE OF MEMORIAL DAY TORNADOES

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If FEMA approves today’s request, local governments, state agencies, and certain private, non-profit organizations in Montgomery, Greene, and Mercer counties would be eligible for federal funds for eligible storm-related response and recovery efforts, including debris removal, emergency protective measures, and damaged infrastructure.

In a letter sent today to FEMA, Ohio Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Sima Merick wrote that a preliminary damage assessment completed last week shows about $18.1 million in eligible costs, of which two-thirds, or about $12 million, is for debris removal.

DeWine declared a state of emergency for Greene, Mercer and Montgomery counties on May 28 after 21 tornadoes hit Ohio. He requested a Presidential Disaster Declaration on June 11, which was approved by President Donald Trump on June 18. Today’s request for FEMA assistance to government entities is an addendum to the ongoing disaster declaration.

Local communities have been waiting for the FEMA designation.

Beavercreek City Manager Pete Landrum said last week the city submitted an initial estimate of $1.2 million in expenditures for the FEMA Public Assistance application. Landrum now expects to spend at least $2 million on city costs related to the EF3 tornado that hit there on Memorial Day.

Even if FEMA approves the city’s request for assistance, it is on a reimbursement basis and can take significant time to see the funding, Landrum said. FEMA approval covers only 75% of the expenses, so the city could still be responsible for a 25% match, unless the state assists, Landrum said.